May 26, 2015 6:16 PM

Steinhauser: Fiorina confident she'll make the GOP debate cut

NH1 Political Director -

DERRY – Carly Fiorina says she’s not worried about making the stage at the first Republican presidential debate in August.

“I’m going to work very hard to be on that debate stage and I’m pretty confident I will be.”

Fox News, which is hosting the August 6th debate in Cleveland, Ohio (site of the 2016 GOP presidential nominating convention) is allowing only the top 10 Republican candidates, according to an average of national polls. With six declared candidates and a dozen more seriously considering White House bids, many in the GOP field may be left off the stage.

In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News following a luncheon with supporters and Republican activists at a restaurant in Derry, the former Hewlett Packard chief executive officer said “I’m happy that we know the rules. I come from a world where it’s important to know what the rules are, what the goals are, and then you can work hard to try and achieve.

Fiorina’s mild response stands in contrast to other contenders who have blasted the debate criteria, including former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who was runner up to GOP nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 nomination race.

While Fiorina’s been winning rave reviews for her speeches and retail events on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, Iowa, and elsewhere, she remains low down in most national and state polling in the race for the GOP nomination. If the debate were held now, Fiorina, who launched her White House campaign on May 4, wouldn’t make the cut. But she told NH1 News that she’s not concerned.

“Those polls are now and those polls are lagging indicators and every one of the polls you mentioned were taken before I announced my candidacy for president and as you point out we have three months to go,” she said.

Criticizing Clinton; pushing back at Trump

As she does at every opportunity, Fiorina criticized Hillary Clinton.

She told the audience at the La Carreta restaurant that since she announced her candidacy “I’ve answered about, well about, almost 430 on the record questions. Hillary Clinton, by the latest county, has maybe answered, I don’t know, 15, maybe, since April 12. She seems to be making a habit of avoiding the press.”

And in her conversation with NH1 News, the only woman in the GOP presidential field added that “I think it’s pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is not transparent. I think that’s been clear for some time. She deletes emails, she doesn’t answer many straight forward questions about her emails. She doesn’t answer straight forward questions about the foreign government donations to her family foundation. She didn’t answer questions about Benghazi.”

Fiorina is the only Republican presidential candidate who hasn’t held elective office. If he announces his candidacy, Donald Trump would be the second. The real estate mogul and reality TV star has been critical of Fiorina, for the way she was fired at Hewlett Packard and for her 2010 election loss to Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.

Asked about Trump’s criticism, Fiorina said “you’ll have to ask Donald Trump why he’s doing that. But I think that my track record at Hewlett Packard is crystal clear. We took a company from $45 billion to $90 billion.”

As for her 2010 loss at the ballot box, Fiorina took a shot at Trump, who’s flirted before with White House runs, saying “losing an election is not the end of a career. Never running is an interesting way to criticize others who have put their hat in the arena.”

Signing a potato

Fiorina has filed paperwork putting her net worth between $30 million and $120 million. Asked if she will self-finance a portion of her presidential campaign, Fiorina declined to answer, saying “I tend not to answer hypotheticals if we have no idea if something is going to happen or not.”

But she added that “I think we will have the fuel and the support and the polling data that we need to compete.”

Fiorina received a standing ovation at the end of her event, which was one of three she held Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Later Fiorina signed a couple of potatoes, a local custom in Derry. One of the town’s claims to fame is that it is the site of the first potato farms in the Granite State.

“I’ve signed eggs but I’ve never signed a potato,” Fiorina joked as she put her signature to a potato.

After the event, Jodi Nelson, vice chair of the Derry GOP, who remains uncommitted for now, came away impressed, saying that “I feel she’s very passionate about America.”

The Fiorina campaign says that Granite Staters should expect to see a lot more of their candidate as spring leads into summer. And a campaign official told NH1 News that they plan to expand their staff in the state in the very near future.


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